Marquette men's lacrosse split their two games in the Midwest Lacrosse Classic over the weekend, taking a 12-8 loss to Ohio State on Friday before defeating Detroit 10-8 on Sunday.
A year ago, Marquette blasted Ohio State in the Midwest Lacrosse Classic with five fourth quarter goals to rally for a 10-9 win. This year, it was a tighter game, with Marquette never letting the Buckeyes getting more than four goals away from them through the majority of the contest. The two squads traded pairs of goals in the first quarter, and Ohio State seized control of the match with three straight goals to open the second quarter. Ryan McNamara and Joe Dunn answered that run with goals sandwiching the second goal of the day from OSU's Austin Shanks to make it 6-4 at halftime.
McNamara all by himself traded goals with Ohio State in the third quarter, so it was a two goal game at 8-6 with 15 minutes to play. Conor Gately broke the ice on the fourth quarter to make it 8-7 with 12:45 to play and make a game of it. MU fired away on Ohio State in the fourth quarter, outshooting the Buckeyes 16-7, but it didn't translate into an advantage in goals. After the Gately goal, Ohio State scored four more times against just one final marker from McNamara to pull away for the final margin.
For Sunday's game against Detroit, head coach Joe Amplo shook up the lineup. Of the gents who started the Ohio State game, only Conor Gately, Kyle Whitlow, and B.J. Grill returned to the starting lineup, and that includes goalie Jimmy Danaher, who had started the previous 18 contests dating back to 2014. Matt Barone got the nod in net for Marquette, and when the first quarter ended in a 1-1 tie with Barone making two saves, Amplo went back to Danaher. I don't know if Amplo was trying to get more guys some work or get his primary guys some rest after having played on Friday, but it made for a weird situation to watch.
Marquette got off to a weird start once Danaher got into the game, letting Detroit tack on two more goals to "start" the second quarter. I say "start" there because the second one didn't come until the 2:17 mark of the period. With MU trailing 3-1 in this game and generally struggling to mount a lot of offense this season, you had to start wondering what was off with the attack and what Amplo could do to fix it.
Then Marquette scored the next six of the next seven goals of the game, including two in the final 1:45 of the first half, and three in the first five minutes of the second half. That gave the Golden Eagles a 7-4 lead, but Detroit wasn't going away. They scored the next four goals to take an 8-7 lead with 6:50 left in the game. Losing to Ohio State wasn't that big of a deal as far as Marquette's aim of making it to the NCAA tournament this season, since the Buckeyes started the season nationally ranked. Losing to Detroit would be a massive disaster, probably even deeper than the disaster that was losing to Bellarmine last year.
Thankfully, we didn't have to find out for sure. Marquette scored three times in the final four minutes to rally and win, with Gately knocking home two of the goals to finish with a hat trick plus an assist on the day. Danaher finished the day with seven goals allowed and six saves, which accounts for 13 of Detroit's 22 shots over the final three quarters.
The Golden Eagles are 3-1 right now with two more non-conference games scheduled before the Big East slate begins.
Up Next: Marquette returns to the Valley this weekend for their second home game of the season. They'll be playing Robert Morris on Saturday, with the first faceoff scheduled for 1pm. The Colonials are 1-4 this season, and they'll be playing a road game against Mercer on Tuesday before trekking to Milwaukee for Saturday's contest.